Correspondence Regarding the Date of Thanksgiving, 1939

Correspondence Regarding the Date of Thanksgiving, 1939

Transcript

THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORPORATION
Calendars and Advertising Novelties
BROOKLINE MASS

AUGUST 28, 1939

MRS. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON,D. C.

MY DEAR MRS. ROOSEVELT:
IN ANSWER TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 24, I DESIRE TO STATE THAT IN THESE TRAGIC TIMES IT MAY SEEM ABSURD FOR A CALENDAR MANUFACTURER TO BOTHER THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE ABOUT THE PROPOSED CHANGE OF THE THANKSGIVING DATE, BUT THE PLAN UNFORTUNATELY AFFECTS HUNDREDS OF FIRMS ENGAGED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF CALENDARS.
SOME CUSTOMERS HAVE ALREADY INDICATED THAT THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT THEIR CALENDARS IF THE CORRECT THANKSGIVING DATE DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE CALENDARS. IF ANY ATTEMPT IS MADE TO CHANGE THE THANKSGIVING DATE, CONFUSION WILL RESULT.
ALL OF THE GOVERNORS OF NEW ENGLAND HAVE ANNOUNCED THAT THE LAST THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER WILL, AS USUAL, BE THE THANKSGIVING DATE.
I HAVE A LETTER FROM GOVERNOR LEON PHILLIPS OF OKLAHOMA, WHO WRITES THAT, SO FAR AS HE IS CONCERNED, THANKSGIVING DAY WILL BE ON NOV 30TH, AND I HAVE SIMILAR LETTERS FROM OTHER GOVERNORS.
CALENDAR MANUFACTURE RES ARE CONFRONTED WITH A SERIOUS LOSS, IF THE THANKSGIVING DAY WILL BE CHANGED THIS YEAR OR NEXT YEAR.
I ENCLOSE A COPY OF A LETTER THAT WAS ADDRESSED TO THE ADVERTISING SPECIALTY NATIONAL ASSOCIATION BY A LARGE MANUFACTURER OF CALENDARS. PERHAPS THIS LETTER WILL MORE CLEARLY AMPLIFY OUR VIEWPOINT.

VERY TRULY  YOURS,
THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORP. BY
S. HILLSON, PRES.

SH;EH


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THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORPORATION
Calendars and Advertising Novelties
BROOKLINE MASS

September 8, 1939

His Excellency, The Governor
Tallahassee, Florida

My dear Governor:
We are herewith enclosing copies of some recent correspondence which we have had with the White House in regard to the proposed change of the Thanksgiving date.
We thought that you might find this of some interest since we understand that each governor has the authority to issue the Thanksgiving proclamation for his own state.

Very truly yours,
THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORP.

SH:JD

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COPY

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

AUGUST 24, 1939

MY DEAR MR. HILLSON:
IT SEEMS TO ME UTTERLY RIDICULOUS THAT ONE HAS TO HAVE ON A CALENDAR ANY DATE THAT ONE WISHES TO HAVE CHANGED.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE PAPER THAT THIS DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO CORRECT ANYTHING WHICH MAY BE ON A CALENDAR. THIS CONTROVERSY SEEMS TO ME TO SHOW VERY LITTLE ADAPTABILITY ON OUR PART IN THE WAY OF READJUSTMENT TO EVEN SMALL THINGS.

VERY SINCERELY YOURS,
SIGNED: ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

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THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORPORATION
Calendars and Advertising Novelties
BROOKLINE MASS

AUGUST 28, 1939

MRS. ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON,D. C.

MY DEAR MRS. ROOSEVELT:
IN ANSWER TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 24, I DESIRE TO STATE THAT IN THESE TRAGIC TIMES IT MAY SEEM ABSURD FOR A CALENDAR MANUFACTURER TO BOTHER THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE ABOUT THE PROPOSED CHANGE OF THE THANKSGIVING DATE, BUT THE PLAN UNFORTUNATELY AFFECTS HUNDREDS OF FIRMS ENGAGED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF CALENDARS.
SOME CUSTOMERS HAVE ALREADY INDICATED THAT THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT THEIR CALENDARS IF THE CORRECT THANKSGIVING DATE DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE CALENDARS. IF ANY ATTEMPT IS MADE TO CHANGE THE THANKSGIVING DATE, CONFUSION WILL RESULT.
ALL OF THE GOVERNORS OF NEW ENGLAND HAVE ANNOUNCED THAT THE LAST THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER WILL, AS USUAL, BE THE THANKSGIVING DATE.
I HAVE A LETTER FROM GOVERNOR LEON PHILLIPS OF OKLAHOMA, WHO WRITES THAT, SO FAR AS HE IS CONCERNED, THANKSGIVING DAY WILL BE ON NOV 30TH, AND I HAVE SIMILAR LETTERS FROM OTHER GOVERNORS.
CALENDAR MANUFACTURE RES ARE CONFRONTED WITH A SERIOUS LOSS, IF THE THANKSGIVING DAY WILL BE CHANGED THIS YEAR OR NEXT YEAR.
I ENCLOSE A COPY OF A LETTER THAT WAS ADDRESSED TO THE ADVERTISING SPECIALTY NATIONAL ASSOCIATION BY A LARGE MANUFACTURER OF CALENDARS. PERHAPS THIS LETTER WILL MORE CLEARLY AMPLIFY OUR VIEWPOINT.

VERY TRULY  YOURS,
THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORP. BY
S. HILLSON, PRES.

SH;EH

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THE GERLACH-BARKLOW CO.
JOLIET, ILLINOIS

COPY

AUGUST 22, 1939
 
MR. RUSSELL M. SEARLE, SECRETARY,
ADVERTISING SPECIALTY NATIONAL ASS'N.,
15TH & "G" STREETS, N. W. - RM. 503
WASHINGTON, D.C.

DEAR MR. SEARLE: THANKSGIVING DATE
HAD THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE DATE FOR THANKSGIVING BEEN ANNOUNCED TWO YEARS AGO, TO TAKE EFFECT IN 1939, OUR INDUSTRY WOULD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED IT WITHOUT ANY SERIOUS PROTEST, AND THE CHANGE WOULD NOT HAVE AFFECTED OUR CALENDARS.
IF THE PRESIDENT PERSISTS IN HIS ANNOUNCED INTENTION OF PROCLAIMING NOVEMBER 23, AS THANKSGIVING DAY FOR 1939, AND NOVEMBER 21 OR NOVEMBER 14, AS THANKSGIVING DAY FOR 1940, THEN ALL CURRENT CALENDARS WHICH DESIGNATE THE HOLIDAYS WILL BE IN ERROR AND MOST CALENDARS FOR 1940 WILL ALSO BE IN ERROR SINCE SINCE THE GREAT BULK OF OUR ORDERS FOR 1940 HAVE ALREADY BEEN PRINTED, AND MANY OF THEM SHIPPED. ALREADY WE HAVE HEARD FROM SOME OF OUR CUSTOMERS WANTING TO KNOW WHAT OUR POLICY IS GOING TO BE IN REGARD TO DESIGNATING THE 1940 HOLIDAY AND WE CAN EXPLAIN ONLY THAT OUR 1940 CALENDAR PADS ARE PRINTED WITH NOVEMBER 28, INDICATED AS THANKSGIVING.
LOCALLY, SUCH MERCHANTS AS I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CONTACT, ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THEIR CHRISTMAS SALES WOULD NOT BE MATERIALLY AFFECTED BY ADVANCING THE DATE OF THANKSGIVING. WHILE I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET ANY STATISTICS ON THIS SUBJECT COMPARING THOSE YEARS IN WHICH THANKSGIVING FALLS ON THE 24TH WITH THOSE YEARS IN WHICH THANKSGIVING FALLS ON THE 30TH OR STILL EARLIER, I CANNOT FIND ANY PARTICULAR SENTIMENT IN FAVOR OF MAKING THE PROPOSED CHANGE.
IN VIEW OF THE SITUATION I HOPE THAT PRESIDENT CAN BE INDUCED TO PROCLAIM THE USUAL TIME-HONORED DATE - THE LAST THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER - FOR THANKSGIVING THIS YEAR AND IN THE FUTURE.

VERY YOURS TRULY,
SIGNED: - E. J. BARKLOW, VICE PRES.

C
CC TO STANWOOD-HILLSON CORP.

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THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORPORATION
Calendars and Advertising Novelties
BROOKLINE MASS

AUGUST 31, 1939

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT
WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON, D. C.

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
IN TODAY'S PAPER THERE IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT YOU HAVE DESIGNATED NOV 21ST AS THE THANKSGIVING DATE FOR THE YEAR 1940, AND YOU FURTHER STATE THAT THE CALENDAR MANUFACTURERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE PLEASED BY THE LONG ADVANCE NOTICE.
MR PRESIDENT, THIS WILL NOT HELP CALENDAR MANUFACTURERS SINCE ALL 1940 CALENDARS HAVE BEEN PRINTED AND, IN MY INSTANCES, DISTRIBUTED TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.
WE ENCLOSE TWO CALENDAR PADS INDICATING THAT ALL THE HOLIDAYS ARE PRINTED IN RED. THE 1940 CALENDARS WERE PRINTED BY ALL MANUFACTURERS MONTHS AGO; IN FACT, WE STARTED TO PRINT OUT CALENDARS AS EARLY AS JANUARY OF THIS YEAR, AND MANY OF OUR 1940 CALENDARS HAVE ALREADY BEEN SHIPPED TO OUR CUSTOMERS.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE AND OTHER LEADING MANUFACTURERS NOW HAVE OUR SAMPLES READY FOR THE YEAR 1941. THE NATURE OF THE CALENDAR BUSINESS IS SUCH THAT THE CALENDAR MANUFACTURER HAS TO START WORK ON HIS LINE AT LEAST A YEAR AHEAD.
IT'S EASY TO UNDERSTAND THAT IF YOUR RULE REMAINS IN EFFECT, EVERY CALENDAR FOR 1940 WILL BE IN ERROR AND CUSTOMERS WILL, OF COURSE, IN MANY INSTANCES REJECT THEIR CALENDARS.
WHILE WE ONLY DESIGNATE HOLIDAYS IN RED INK, MANY MANUFACTURERS SPECIFY HOLIDAYS BY A RING OR SPECIAL DESIGNATION AROUND THE DATE INDICATING THAT "THIS IS THANKSGIVING DAY - THIS IS CHRISTMAS DAY", ETC.
WE ARE SURE THAT IF YOU WILL GIVE THIS MATTER YOUR CAREFUL ATTENTION, YOU WILL REALIZE THE TREMENDOUS LOSS THAT CALENDAR MANUFACTURERS WILL SUFFER IF YOUR ORDER IS NOT RESCINDED.

RESPECTFULLY YOURS,
THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORP.
BY S. HILLSON, PRES.

SH;EH

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THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORPORATION
Calendars and Advertising Novelties
BROOKLINE MASS

TO THOSE IN THE CALENDAR BUSINESS
BELOW IS A COPY OF A LETTER THAT WE ARE WRITING TO THE PRESIDENT; ALSO TO OUR SENATORS, CONGRESSMEN AND GOVERNOR.
WE ARE ASKING THEM TO BRING PRESSURE ON PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT TO RESCIND HIS THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION.
ALTHOUGH NO PROCLAMATION HAS BEEN ISSUED AS YET FOR THE 1940 THE PRESIDENT HAS STATED THAT THE THANKSGIVING DATE WILL BE ADVANCED TWO WEEKS FOR THE YEAR OF 1940.
THAT WILL MAKE NEARLY ALL CALENDARS WRONG PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT CARRY SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS FOR HOLIDAYS.

----------------

AUGUST 16, 1939

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
YOUR PROCLAMATION CHANGING THANKSGIVING DAY THIS YEAR AND FOR THE YEAR OF 1940 WILL TEND TO RAISE HAVOC FOR THOSE, WHO LIKE OURSELVES, ARE ENGAGED IN THE CALENDAR BUSINESS.
FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW WE WILL NOT BE AFFECTED VERY MUCH THIS YEAR SINCE 1939 CALENDARS HAVE BEEN OUT A LONG TIME BUT NEVERTHELESS EVERY CALENDAR WILL CARRY THE WRONG INFORMATION ABOUT THANKSGIVING, EVEN FOR THIS YEAR.
THE SITUATION FOR 1940 IS DIFFERENT. WE AND OTHER CALENDAR MANUFACTURERS HAVE ALL PUBLISHED OUR CALENDAR PADS FOR 1940. IN FACT MILLIONS OF CALENDAR PADS HAVE ALREADY BEEN DISTRIBUTED FOR THE YEAR OF 1940. NEARLY ALL OF THESE CALENDARS DESIGNATE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH AS THANKSGIVING DAY.
SO FAR AS HE CALENDAR MANUFACTURERS ARE CONCERNED THEIR CUSTOMERS WILL UNDOUBTEDLY SET FORTH THE CLAIM THAT THE 1940 CALENDARS ARE INCORRECTLY PRINTED SINCE THE THANKSGIVING DATE WILL BE DESIGNATED INCORRECTLY.
THAT MEANS IN MANY INSTANCES CUSTOMERS WILL REFUSE TO PAY FOR THEIR MERCHANDISE SINCE THE AVERAGE CUSTOMER DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT ALL MANUFACTURERS OF CALENDAR PADS MUST START A YEAR AHEAD TO MAKE UP CALENDAR PADS.
ACCORDING TO THE PRESS AT LEAST SOME GOVERNORS OF SOME STATES WILL STICK TO THE TIME HONORED CUSTOM OF DECLARING THE LAST THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER AS THANKSGIVING AND THAT WILL CREATE FURTHER CONFUSION.

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WHILE THE IDEA OF ADVANCING THANKSGIVING DAY A WEEK OR TWO AHEAD MAY HAVE MERIT NEVERTHELESS IF THERE ARE TO BE ANY CHANGES THEY OUGHT TO BE33 POSTPONED FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS TO GIVE THE GENERAL PUBLIC A CHANCE TO READJUST THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY THOSE FIRMS TO WHOM DATES AND HOLIDAYS HAVE A SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE PARTICULARLY FROM THE BUSINESS POINT OF VIEW.
WE, THEREFORE, IN BEHALF OF OURSELVES AND OTHER CALENDAR MANUFACTURERS ASK TAT YOU RESCIND YOUR PROCLAMATION IN ADVANCING THE THANKSGIVING DATE UNTIL 1941. THEN THERE OUGHT TO BE A NATIONAL LAW TO MAKE THANKSGIVING OR ANY OTHER HOLIDAY UNIFORM THROUGHOUT THE NATION.

VERY TRULY YOURS,
THE STANWOOD-HILLSON CORP.
BY: S. HILLSON, PRESIDENT

SH:JD

Source

State Archives of Florida: Series S368, Box 91, Folder 5

Description

Letters between Russell M. Searle, E.J. Barklow, President Franklin Roosevelt, S. Hillson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Florida Governor Fred P. Cone regarding the Thanksgiving proclamation made by President Roosevelt moving the date of the holiday up one week.

Date

1939

Creator

Barklow, E.J.

Hillson, S.

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962

Format

Letters (correspondence)

Coverage

Depression Era Florida (1926-1940)

General Note

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation moving the Thanksgiving holiday from the last Thursday of November to the second to last Thursday of the month to extend the holiday shopping season. The holiday was changed from November 30, the last day of the month, to November 23. Thirty-two states issued similar proclamations, but 16 states refused to make the change. Florida Governor Fred P. Cone decided not to move the date forward and left the holiday on its traditional day. The governor's decision received both praise and opposition, with many wanting to keep with tradition, while others criticized the governor for creating confusion throughout the state. Many Florida organizations chose one date to celebrate the holiday, while others recognized both days as Thanksgiving. The dispute remained unresolved in 1940 and 1941. The issue was finally settled on December 26, 1941, when President Roosevelt signed a joint resolution declaring the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.